All the chatter out of Nashville in the last few days has been about Taylor Swift winning her sixth Nashville Songwriters Association International Songwriter of The Year Award (plus the opening of her new education center at the Country Music Hall of Fame). Congratulations to her, but let's give some credit to the four individuals who were enshrined in the NSAI Hall of Fame on Sunday. Swift will get there eventually we're sure, but these guys deserve some spotlight.
The most recognizable song written by this Nashville mainstay has to be "My Heart Will Go On," the Academy Award-winning theme sung by Celine Dion during Titanic. Jennings also won an Oscar for his "Up Where We Belong" from An Officer and A Gentleman. Jennings has paired with Eric Clapton, winning a Grammy for helping to write and perform "Tears in Heaven," and he also helped Clapton with "Higher Love." He also won a Grammy for "My Heart Will Go On" and Dionne Warwick's "I'll Never Love This Way Again."
Layng Martine Jr.
Martine has the unfortunate distinction of being the writer who penned Elvis Presley's final single before the legend's death in 1977. "Way Down" would go on to sell more than a million copies, partially thanks to sentimentality from the buying public, but Martine earned his keep. Martine's own single, "Rub It In," ended up serving as the inspiration for the "plug-it-in" theme of Glades Plug-Ins, probably his most profitable songwriting credit.
Probably the most well-known of the four inductees without a list of his songs being read, Owen serves as the vocalist for country band Alabama. The band may have never topped the mainstream Billboard charts or the Hot 100, but it owned the country charts whenever it released an album. That includes 11 albums debuting at no. 1, and 32 songs reaching the top of the county singles charts. Although Owen still sings for Alabama during the band's occasional show, he generally tours solo.
Steele may have the most songwriting credits on this list, and that's not counting his own performances. He's had the most success writing for Rascal Flatts, having co-written four no. 1 country songs for the group, including "What Hurts The Most," "My Wish," "Here" and "These Days." Steele has also written no. 1 songs for Tim McGraw and Steve Holy, as well as releasing his own solo work and spending six years in country band Boy Howdy.